Creating in fabric – still Art

I continue to be creating in fabric lately. The digital part is documenting what I am doing.

I have a collector gene and sewing seems to fill that as well. There is the fabric hunt and acquisition. The tools and accessories. The patterns and the products. And then the set up and the organization. It really does fill so many spaces.

Organizing and creating rhythms and processes is necessary. I now have a command hook on the side of my sewing machine with my tail cutting scissors. Practicing using and putting back and always knowing where it is.

I used a letter sorter for hold my rulers. A vintage creamer and sugar bowl for my fabric clips. Bed risers on my table to raise it so it is comfortable for cutting and sitting at on a counter stool for assembly.

Next was the presser feet that came with my machine. the little plastic pouch was useless. I got an inexpensive plastic bead box and added labels. So far works great!

Presser foot storage

Bobbins – I started with a small plastic case. Each time I opened and took on out – they all came out and landed all over the room. And the tails – ugh!. I used some Amazon points and got some huggers for my spools and a BobbinSaver – a plastic ring that holds the bobbins. So far it is a huge improvement.

Bobbin storage

Thread tail containment


I have found a mentor to help me thru things. A smart and talented woman who does fantastic work – but with reality mixed in. She knows how to get to quality – but get the job done. Can’t thank her enough for taking me under her wing. We have some similar interests and she is so generous in her sharing and help online. LOL – she has chickens and roosters and one of her favorite fabric subjects are rooters…under her wing – — get it? LOL She is also a Flash WonderWoman! She can make 2 dozen feed sack totes in a day! Check her out at Grammies Little Aprons and Sew Much More on Facebook.

I am not looking to expand into selling lots of things and having to keep an inventory. But I am going to need an outlet to move some of the creations on. I already know I have more than I can use. I am exploring options.

The path I am most interested in is combining my vintage shopping pleasures with creating. The other tangent is learning more skills and getting to take part in activities from a small business in my hometown and support them – so using quilting techniques in my up cycle vintage creations. That probably really limits the market share. But I am not look

ing to earn living or make a fortune.

I met a vintage crafter online who was moving her MIL’s estate and purchased (very reasonably!) some Christmas tablecloths and a floral. The floral is dynamic. Not a favorite of mine, but it makes a statement. I worked on some interfacing combinations and some other things and created a nice size tote. Not as large as I had done – so actually more useful.

Standard tote

I was pleased with the results. I didn’t have dark pink thread on hand and didn’t edge the handles. My mentor was quick to point that out. I went ahead anyways.

There was still fabric left. I wanted to do a different style bag. Since I am not in a mass production cycle – I am more apt to create different bags for many reasons. One to keep improving my skills and two I don’t know what to do with them now – why would I have dozens of the same thing in different patterns. If I was doing craft shows or mass market, one type might work. For now I am creating one of a kind and limited designs.

So from this fabric I got a “Happy Bag”. A bag with a large “smile” pocket on the front.

Happy Bag - Front "smile Pocket"

Back of the bag.

Back of Happy Bag

I had to go to the vet today for meds for our Jaxin. It was a Saturday and there is this place near by called Northwinds Junk Post that I have wanted to explore. They are only open on weekends and it is 35 miles away – today was the day!

I was fortunate to find some seed sack cloth yardage. A little dirty – but cleaned up well. I can’t wait to use it as lining or as a bag itself. I will now be able to create an entire end product with vintage cloth!

Vintage Fabric SKOR!

All cleaned and folded for storage until used.

Vintage Fabric - cleaned and folded

And now I need to find LARGE vintage buttons and other doo dads!!! Lynn Prey – help!!! What do I look for and what are good prices?

For being in Wisconsin in the winter – things are feeling good and creating is going on.



Vintage camels tote

Vintage panel bag project

Finished the vintage camel cloth into a tote bag.

Vintage panel bag project

Added a pocket panel on the inside.

Vintage panel bag project

Feeling pretty good about this one. :-). No pattern – just math, some techniques and construction things I finally was able to do smoothly. Improvement on my edge stitching. Using up fabric and repurposing fabric that may have went to the landfill.

Now what do I do with it????



Fabric overload….new creations

Well I seem to be in a hands on fabric creation mode vs. digital right now. Seems okay with me.

This is a panel piece I received in a gift of a large bag of fabric pieces that had been collected. It is somewhat woven and could have been upholstery in its first use or a wall hanging? It has a weak and threaded section that I hope I can piece together a little bit. But fusing stablizer to it should hold it together. Part of the charm of repurposing is the blemishes. 🙂

I soaked the cloth in several baths over a couple of days and then put it thru a wash cycle. It is clean now – but probably lighter than original. I like that it is a little brighter.

New project

I had been at the Sewing Basket during a skinny bolt sale and found the green and gold print. There was a yard left and it seemed to be calling. I was extremely pleased when I got home and found it was a good match.

My mind had the piece destined to be a bag for better use in it’s next iteration. The colors and subject would make it difficult to use as a wall hanging without a specific person in mind that would find it a fit.

I am trying to NOT become a fabric hoarder and use as much as have and only get what I know I will use soon. The basket weave print is from when I was making things for my grandson’s nursery that didn’t get used.

Bag design

Fabric - Vintage

the panel was gifted to me by Judy S. Some soaking and cleaning brought out the colors. I was able to find some fabric that was perfect to go along.

I stabilized the tapestry and then backed ti with a cotton to create the binding.

Next it was adding it to the background.

The binding fabric is what I will use for the lining.

The bag will end up being about 20X16.

Learning to stop when I am tired so I don’t get sloppy.

I am excited to see how this will turn out!

Stay tuned!


Turns into Practice and supplies for another…

So I dove in today and cut up one of the vintage cloths I had gotten a few months ago. I bought it online. It wasn’t what I thought it was when I got it – but seemed okay. It had more stains than I could get out – but heck – it is used.

From create to practice to crumb supplies

I decided I would use the squares as quilt like patches instead of larger pieces cut that would cut off many of the graphics.

I started by cutting the border off so I can use it for the sides and top of a tote. then the strips of squares.

From create to practice to crumb supplies

All seemed to be going well.

Since the squares looked like patchwork – I thought I would do a semi quilt as you go panel for the front and back.

What I learned was vintage cloths while printed are not precise. Each section of squares are a different size even though when you view the full piece they all look the same. The number 3 seemed right to me so I I made 3 rows of 3.

From create to practice to crumb supplies

From create to practice to crumb supplies

It looked good on the assembly table….

I needed to bind around the panels after they were sewn onto the red. The panels were not even so trimming and futzing happened. I decided not to use the border on this bag because I could already see it wasn’t going well. I will use that on a second bag.

By using the tablecloths as fabric – there are many issues. I spend a lot of time folding – marking off – changing to see what way the fabric might become something new.

I set my mind to the 9 squares. Got them in place on strips and began the binding. Since the squares are not really square things started going sideways and a little off. Some “off” has a charm. Too much and it starts to look sloppy. And yet it is not being sloppy – but having to figure out and play with something new. I should have stopped and come back to it – but wanted to keep going.

Then my iron decided to throw a fit and let out a gush of brown water! – one whole section of the bag was stained.

I got things pieced together – I was feeling a little better about the direction. I then realized the bag was too big to be useful. The binding to hold the squares in was making the graphics seem too cut off. So I practiced trying to get the top edging lines straight and in place. 20 tries to practice! And I did get better at it.

I boxed my corners – that went well. 🙂

I stitched up the sides and gave it a press. It didn’t look too bad from a distance. I thought I would stop for the day and next time add the handles and the lining. I wanted to make some inside pockets too.

Looking at it a little longer – NOPE – it is going into crumb quilt blocks. I need to start knowing when to move on from something and start again.

I do think binding on the crumb quilt when the time comes will go much easier. All those pieces are more exact.

Stay tuned – you will see some of this in other projects. And I still have a second chance with this fabric for another tote try. Now I am thinking no grid and more free form because of the inconsistency of the blocks. That will help in keeping the bag size reasonable too and less piecing. I also am thinking lace or rick rack along the edges rather than traditional binding. Hoping the next one is not practice.


The iron spit out on the bottom of the bag and bottom block.

From create to practice to crumb supplies

This side was a little better, but the binding crept too far into the blocks. But in a crumb quilt they will look like they belong.

From create to practice to crumb supplies

Sew What? Creating in new medium….

Taking a side path of creation and art. The last couple years have been mostly digital creations – and that will continue.

In August I began searching out some day stops in our new home town of Plymouth WI for my sister-in-law and I to visit when she came back for a visit in September. Lynn has been a creator all her life. A retired elementary teacher who has a fantastic design eye. She bakes, cans, cooks, crochet, sews, builds houses, gardens – so many passions. There is a store in our downtown called the Sewing Basket. I had been here a year but never ventured into it. While my husband was getting a haircut, I took a walk and ventured in to explore and see if it could be a stop when Lynn was visiting. I fell in love immediately.

The building is over 100 years old. The owners fo the business are attentive to detail and visual presentation. They also change things up almost weekly! I only had a few minutes but knew we had to come and explore together. During the visit we made it to the Sewing Basket. We met the staff who instantly became almost like long time friends. We spent almost an hour and half browsing and deciding what to get. I walked out with a ruler, a rotary cutter, some yards of fabric and batting. I decided I was going to make some totes. And we actually went back for a second visit before Lynn’s visit was over.

I made my first bags – no patterns, just figuring out the math and trying to make something.

Grocery Tote

A first attempt at making bags with the vintage cloth. I got 2 totes from the cloth and learned a lot about construction – they were rough!

Retail shopping bag from vintage tablecloth

I upgraded my sewing machine from the $60 one stitch machine that needed pliers to put the foot up and down. It arrived on a day that vintage cloths did too.

The obsession begins

I then decided I needed a place to sew and be set up rather than lugging everything out to the kitchen table and having to put it away all the time. The sewing space project began. I am using a corner of the lower level that has a closet right off the space. The closet holds my fabrics and other things. I am using things we already have with some adaptations  like bed risers to make the cutting/work table counter height. I have music and TV nearby – windows and a small turn around space to keep everything one step away. It is a happy place.

this is the first version.


I then knew I needed to bring in some other things like my paintings, organizing tools. A different table for the machine that I could get my legs under and wouldn’t wobble. Facing the wall wasn’t great either – even though decor wise the machine table looks better against the back wall – I moved it out. If we have company etc. I can move the table easily and put the ironing board in the closet – but for most days – it should be functional.

Sewing space

It also now lets me see out the window catch some HGTV when not listening to music, someplace comfy to sit when hand sewing and the reminders of and a day coming up where my grandson is over for the day.

Sewing space

Some more visits to the Sewing Basket for lining fabrics and gadgets. The vintage Christmas tablecloth – yes Lynn was there when I got it! – turned into gift bags for under the tree.

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

and then more Christmas gift bags from vintage table cloths!

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Christmas gift bag from vintage tablecloth

Table runners for my daughters as St. Nick Gifts.

Table Runner

And wind bottle totes…

Wine Caddy

I did a little hand sewing in between and put together this elephant from a vintage pattern and cloth gifted to me from Judy for my grandchild’s nursery. A year after he was born – but it got done!

Hand sewing from vintage pattern and material

Holiday Aprons for family cookie baking day, Gifts of grocery totes for my girls….


Grocery bags

A peek-a-boo bag from vintage fabric….

Peek a boo from vintage cloth

Some sewing room accessories…

Chicken fabric weights…..

Chicken Weights

Thread Catcher…..

Thread catcher

A zippered pouch attempt. In this set up time I have connected with some online groups and have found support from Dawn of Grammies Little Aprons and Sew Much More….She has been a gem in sharing, giving tips and a great cheerleader. Take a look at her stuff in her business FaceBook page.

Zipper Pouch

After writing this – I am realizing how much I have done in just 4 months! Wow! And Lynn was the start of all of this!!! I am having a blast and enjoying the creating. I even signed up for some classes at the Sewing Basket for January and February to learn new things and to meet some new people.

With the projects I have done – I have collected scraps. The recylcler/upscycler in me can’t throw them in the trash. I found Darlene Michaud on YouTube and have started my own “crumb quilt” from my scraps. Taking Darlene’s method of chaining and making the crumb blocks, but then expanding and using the Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial on Quilt as You Go Any Block – I have the starts of a quilt. I will use the crumb blocks on layer cake pieces, free motion quilt each and then join them as done in the Missouri Tutorial – so a combination and my spin on it all. I have 27 – 8 inch  blocks made already – next is sewing them to the layer cake piece and the free motion quilting before joining the blocks. I never thought I would really do a quilt – and probably will never do a full fledge quilt. I don’t think I can stick with a project that long without an outcome! – Plus the massive amount of fabric etc. on a domestic machine doesn’t make sense. I will stick to a diverse menu of things to make and shorter term projects – at least I think so now. 😉

Crumb Quilt blocks

I have about 3-5 vintage table cloths waiting for me to do something with and another 3-4 Christmas cloths for more gift bags. The next hunt will be for more vintage cloth. I am not sure what I will do with all the products. Family is already recipients and probably don’t need any more for now. I don’t think I want the selling route as that leads to having to create for a customer rather than create because you want too. But maybe there is a happy medium.

It is amazing at how even at my age – you can learn new things, find new passions. I am grateful I have the time, health and ability to take on new things – and will continue to do so for as long as I can. Today sewing – with added digital creations, photography, gardening, home decor….so many things! and now I also have the next generation in our family to explore new things with and learn even more.

More pics here.